Speakers and Moderators 


Mason Ailstock, President, AURP; Vice President of Operations, The University Financing Foundation, Inc.

Passionate about place-based design and the convergence of university/industry relationships, Mason Ailstock has been leading the physical and social development of university research parks and innovation districts for more than 13 years. Ailstock serves as the Vice President of Operations for The University Financing Foundation (TUFF). TUFF is a private 501(c)3 that partners with institutions around the country in the achievement of their education and research mission through facility investments providing the assets needed to achieve their core goals. Mason serves as a member of the TUFF executive leadership team where he will oversee strategy and operations for the firm, which has invested over $1 billion since its founding in 1982.

Prior to joining TUFF, Ailstock served as the Chief Operating Officer of the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park (RTP) where he led the operational, business development, marketing, real estate, and partnership strategies of the largest high-tech research park in North America. As COO, Ailstock was responsible for the recruitment and retention of private sector companies, the development of mixed-use projects involving multiple stakeholders, strengthening relationships with economic development leaders, and expanding partnerships with the three founding Tier 1 research universities as well as the 220 companies located within RTP. His combination of experiences in the areas of planning, green building, architecture, private sector engagement, and real estate allow him to effectively analyze opportunities and deliver clear strategies.

Preceding his time at RTP, Ailstock served as the Global Partner Manager at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) located in Greenville, South Carolina. While in this position, he led collaborations with university researchers, quasi-governmental entities, and private corporations to create dynamic economic and business development strategies. Ailstock played key roles in the master plan and business development successes of the 250-acre research campus accounting for nearly $250,000,000 in investments, 17 resident companies, 5 LEED facilities, nearly $4,000,000 in competitive federal grants, and over 50 companies supporting sponsored and directed research.

Ailstock received his Bachelors of Science in Architecture & Design, and his Masters in Planning & Real Estate from Clemson University. Ailstock proudly serves as the President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), a 2016 Eisenhower Fellow, US Green Building Council LEED BD+C, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Charles F. D’Agostino, MBA, Immediate Past President, AURP; Executive Director, LSU Innovation Park and Louisiana Business & Technology Center

As Founder of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center (LBTC) of Louisiana State University (LSU), Charles F. D’Agostino has been its Executive Director since 1988. The LBTC serves as LSU’s business incubator, small business development center, technology transfer office and disaster recovery business counseling center. In 2005, the LBTC was selected from over 1,000 international members as the National Business Incubation Association’s business incubator of the year. Under D’Agostino’s direction, the LBTC added a 30-seat mobile classroom to conduct rural entrepreneurship training and disaster business counseling in 37 rural communities and hurricane-impacted areas annually. This program has won awards from the Southern Growth Policies Board, NBIA and the Excalibur Award from AURP for its disaster recovery programs.

D’Agostino was a 2010 Fulbright Specialist in Economic Development assigned to the Universita of L’Aquila in Italy to assist in developing a business disaster recovery program after the 2009 earthquake that devastated L’Aquila. He also assisted the university in developing a business incubator as part of the recovery plan. In 2011, he was honored with NBIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in business incubation.

D’Agostino earned an MBA and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from LSU. He received the Phi Delta Kappa – Excellence in Research Award in 1989 and Faculty Fellow designation from the Foundation of the Mid South and has served on the boards of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), AURP, the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission and currently serves on the Louisiana Legislature’s Small Business Entrepreneurship Commission. He has been active in economic development as a practitioner and consultant for over 30 years.

Scott Andes, Senior Policy Analyst and Associate Fellow, Centennial Scholar Initiative, The Brookings Institution

Scott Andes serves as a Senior Policy Analyst and Associate Fellow at the Centennial Scholar Initiative at The Brookings Institution, where his work focuses on advanced manufacturing, technology transfer and innovation policy, as well as, economic growth.

Prior to joining The Brookings Institution, Andes was a research analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation where he authored and co-authored reports on innovation and domestic economic policy. His work has been cited in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, and others. He was also Special Assistant to Senator Chuck Schumer at the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and has worked on a number of state and national political campaigns.

Andes received his bachelor’s degree in Government from the London School of Economics and his master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

Kevin T. Byrne, MBA, Past President, AURP; President, The University Financing Foundation, Inc.

Kevin Byrne spent his early career at Arthur Andersen with a primary focus in the real estate and financial services industries. In 1997, Byrne founded Byrne & Associates, which focused on providing investment-banking services to small and middle market companies. After earning his Master of Business Administration with honors from the Wharton School of Business in 2001, he joined a real estate development firm as the Chief Financial Officer, managing a balance sheet of over $200 million and leading new transactions of over $150 million in just two years.

In 2003, he joined The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) and has managed all aspects of the firm including the firm’s new investments in education and research projects, which total over $800 million. Byrne oversees the operations of the firm and, through his leadership, the firm has become involved in all aspects of research park creation and ongoing operations including the development of facilities. He has crafted full-scale park business plans, assisted in the strategic and master planning of research parks and has helped several global parks with the creation of innovative investment structures enabling these parks to maximize the efficiency of their limited resources. Byrne is an honors graduate from Furman University and currently serves as the immediate past president of the Association of University Research Parks Board of Directors.

Brian P. Darmody, JD, Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of Maryland

Brian Darmody is responsible for developing the overall university strategy for corporate and foundation relationships, as well as the development of projects and policies to support these initiatives centrally and through the colleges and schools on campus of the University of Maryland.

Previously, he was the University’s Associate Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Director of State and Federal Relations in the President’s Office and has served in the university’s legal counsel office. He serves on national and state boards, including: Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Venture Authority and the Maryland Tech Council. Darmody is a past president of the Association of University Research Parks. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Gregory W. Deason, Past President, AURP; Senior Vice President and Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Purdue University

Greg Deason leads the team that is accelerating startup and tech-based company activity at Purdue University, known as the Foundry. The Foundry is dedicated to expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem and providing robust resources to inventors and entrepreneurs leading to new company formation, ideas to the marketplace and job creation. Announced in 2013, the Foundry has had record-breaking performance with startup companies. Deason has been instrumental in the creation of Purdue Research Parks in three additional locations in Indiana, and in the creation of the Purdue Technology Centers Complex – the largest university-affiliated business incubator complex in the U.S. During Deason’s tenure at the Purdue Research Park, the statewide network has grown to more than 250 companies and over 4,600 jobs, providing an annual impact of $1.3 billion to the Indiana economy. In 2013, Deason received the Career Achievement Award from AURP recognizing him for excellence in research park creation, development and service to the industry. In 2010, Deason was named an Outstanding Alumnus of Purdue University and remains active in service to the College of Agriculture.

Stephen G. Frayser, MBA, MPA, Executive Director, STAR Park, Texas State University

Steve Frayser is the Executive Director of the Texas State University’s Science Technology Advanced Research (STAR) Park. Frayser joined STAR Park in 2012. Frayser brings over three decades of experience in economic development, research park management and successful efforts to spur the innovation economy at Texas State. Prior to joining Star Park, he served as one of the principal staff leaders of the University of Nebraska’s original Technology Park in 1996, eventually becoming its President in 2003. Over the next nine years the Park added over 2,400 jobs, 300,000 square feet of laboratory, engineering and office space and $68 million in private sector investment. In conjunction with tenant companies, a $1.5 million need based scholarship endowment was created and 30 acres were set aside for students to employ sustainability practices through experiential learning.

Frayser earned his MBA from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, has served as a Public Service Fellow while working on his Master in Public Administration degree and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Colorado State University. He’s and active member of AURP, the Texas Association of Research Parks and Incubators, as well as the Federal Advocacy and Technology Councils of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Denis Gauvreau, PhD, Director of International Affairs, Genopole

Dr. Denis Gauvreau is a technology entrepreneur and innovation specialist who has acted has acted in an executive, counsel or seed investor in over 20 early-stage companies in Canada and France, such as Nanoledge, Avance Pharma, BioAxone Therapeutics, Evologic, Biobank, Urogene, Cytomics Pharmaceuticals, Planteck Biotechnologies and OncoDiag. He is currently the Director of International Affairs at Genopole, the first and largest French biocluster, which is home to 82 start-ups, 20 public research institutions, 20 technology platforms and research facilities, employing over 2,250 individuals. The park’s development activities focus on personalized medicine, regenerative medicine and synthetic biology.

Dr. Gauvreau was pivotal in the creation of the first Canadian genomics company, Algene Biotechnologies, as the President and CEO. He was, also, one of the original founding members of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). At KAUST, he drove the commercial strategy of for the KAUST Research Park (KRP) and established a team of business developers who scouted business opportunities by industry, as well as collaborative sponsorship research programs with KAUST Faculty.

Dr. Gauvreau obtained his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Cambridge, where his work led to the creation and characterization of six novel antibiotics. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biochemistry at the University of Montreal (Canada).

Robert Geolas, Partner, HR&A Advisors

Robert 'Bob' Geolas is a nationally-recognized leader in the development of innovation districts, university campuses, and research parks. With HR&A Advisors, Geolas oversees the operations of the Raleigh office and works with clients to deliver economic growth and real estate strategies that enhance assets and communities.

Prior to joining HR&A, Geolas served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Research Triangle Foundation, the steward organization for the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. As President, he led the master planning effort to reshape Research Triangle Park, ensuring its place at the forefront of technology and applied sciences, while also serving its historic mission to support the universities and create opportunities for all North Carolinians. Previously, Geolas was instrumental in the creation of one of the country’s most successful public-private research and development campuses as Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Geolas has received several awards for his work to further the missions of institutions, including the Vision Award from the Association of University Research Parks, the Alumni of the Year Award from North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Science and the Triangle Top 20 CEO of the Year Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

Michael Gullion, Vice President of Business Development & Strategy, SCI Technology, a Sanmina company

Michael Gullion is Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for SCI Technology, a Sanmina company, in Huntsville, Alabama. Gullion is responsible for leading the technology segment and overseeing business development functions, which include: strategic planning, marketing and mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to joining SCI, Gullion spent nearly three years as Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development for DRS Sustainment Systems in St. Louis, Missouri. He was accountable for all annual bookings and new business growth including developing new markets in both military and commercial segments. In this role, Gullion formed strategic partnerships with leading technology companies to bring innovative solutions to his customers. In addition to his business growth responsibilities, he was also accountable for developing the annual Strategic Plan and setting the strategic direction.

Prior to entering industry, Gullion served for over six years on active duty in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. Following his shipboard assignments, he served as Director of the Tomahawk Missile Training Program (SLAMEX) for Pacific fleet in San Diego, California.

Gullion received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he was also a four-year varsity letter winner. He earned his Master of Business Administration in Strategy and Finance from the Anderson School at UCLA in Los Angeles, California.

Molly Gilbert, Director of University and Community Engagement, Tech Parks Arizona, University of Arizona

Molly Gilbert is a member of the management team for Tech Parks Arizona and leads the University Community Engagement team with 20 years of management experience that spans retail, education, and economic development. Her areas of focus include entrepreneurism, human resources, operations, marketing, media relations, community relations, and government relations.

At Tech Parks Arizona, Gilbert’s responsibilities include managing tenant and employee relations, government and community relations, fundraising and grant writing, educational outreach and workforce development.

Gilbert leads strategic initiatives in Aerospace and Defense and Smart Vehicles and Intelligent Transportation. She is responsible for management of a regional initiative along the southern part of the states of Arizona and New Mexico to promote advanced manufacturing in the region.

She serves on the Tucson Urban League Board of Directors, Tucson Metropolitan Education Commission, Pima County Workforce Investment Board and as an advisor for the Southern Arizona Science and Engineering Foundation. Gilbert is a member of Vail Connects, the Association of University Research Parks and the Bioscience Leadership Council of Southern Arizona. She is a founding member of the Arizona Business Incubator Network.

Gilbert holds an MBA from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and marketing.

Mitchell Horowitz, Vice President and Managing Director, TEConomy Partners, LLC

As the Vice President and Managing Director of TEConomy Partner, LLC, Mitchell Horowitz’s work centers on research park feasibility analysis and conceptual plan development includes USC Biomed Tech Park, Georgia State University, East Baltimore Life Science and Technology Park, Pittsburgh Technology Space Study, University of Maryland Baltimore incubator feasibility, and Friendship Technology Park in Hagerstown, Maryland.

He has built a strong record of accomplishment in technology development where he has worked as a principal economic development consultant, high-ranking state development official and as an executive in a fast-growing diversified technology firm. Prior to starting TEConomy Partners, Horowitz spent a number of years with Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice and prior to that he worked with a diversified technology firm. As part of his executive management responsibilities, Horowitz served as president of a mezzanine capital financing group and executive vice president for business development and marketing for a fast growing clinical trials informatics company.

Horowitz holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Erin Koshut, Director, Cummings Research Park

Erin Koshut is responsible for managing and marketing Cummings Research Park (CRP), which houses 300 companies, is situated on over 3,800 acres and employs 29,000 employees—making CRP the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world.

In her role as CRP Director, Koshut is leading a comprehensive master planning effort to ensure another 50 successful years for CRP. Working with stakeholders and community partners, she is working to transform the culture in the Park and create a vibrant environment where employees can connect, work, live, learn and play. She recently shepherded a re-branding of the Park, rolling out a new CRP brand and messaging across communication platforms, partners and CRP companies.

Previously, Koshut was Vice President for Client Services and Special Events with the Nashville-based public strategies firm, CRISP Communications. While at CRISP, she served as the lead strategist and account planner for the firm’s work with the U.S. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, she led numerous high-tech issue advocacy campaigns and events in both Alabama and Tennessee.

She graduated from Lipscomb University in 1998 with a B.A. degree in Public Relations.

Cameron J. McCoy, PhD (ABD), Assistant Vice President, Corporate and Foundation Relations and Career Services Lehigh University

As the Assistant Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Career Services at Lehigh University, Cameron McCoy is responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategic plan for the Lehigh University’s economic engagement functions, including corporate relations, foundation relations, career services, federal agency – industry – Lehigh relation, research park development assessment, and some elements of technology transfer and economic development.

Prior to joining Lehigh in June 2014, he served as the Executive Director of the Corporate Engagement office (CEO) at the University of Oklahoma (OU) where he was responsible for developing and executing an integrated strategic plan for the award winning University Research Campus (URC), coordinating research enterprise activities with industry partners, developing and expanding the engagement pipeline, and growing external partnerships with Oklahoma’s economic development organizations. He was also responsible for all marketing and public relations activates related to University Economic Development efforts, which include the CEO, Office of Technology Development (OTD) and the University’s student focused Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth (CCEW).

McCoy holds undergraduate degrees from Washington State University in architectural studies, history and social studies, with minors in military science and leadership studies. He is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, holding a masters degree in leadership. He is currently working on his PhD with a focus on economics and educational administration.

Jeanne Mell, Vice President Marketing Communications, The University City Science Center

Jeanne Mell joined the University City Science Center in 2009 as Vice President Marketing Communications. She is responsible for corporate marketing, program development, communications, public and media relations and community engagement. Mell also oversees Quorum, the entrepreneurs’ clubhouse and the Science Center’s participation in the Blackstone LaunchPad Philadelphia program.

Before joining the Science Center, Mell was Senior Vice President of Communications for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, where she had overall responsibility for print and electronic communications, public relations and media relations. Before making the move to PR and marketing, Mell was a journalist. Most recently she served as Director of Photography and Design at The News Journal in Wilmington, Del. She also worked at the Associated Press in New York and Philadelphia, ABC News, Good Morning America and Popular Photography Magazine. She started her career at Inc. Magazine, when it was a startup.

Mell chairs Campus Philly’s Board of Directors and also serves on the board of the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) and chairs AWE’s Marketing Committee. She also serves on the board of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Mell has a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Joe W. Meredith, PhD, President, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

Dr. Joe Meredith is president of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (CRC) in Blacksburg, Virginia. CRC consists of over 100 high-technology companies that employ over 1,775 people. In 1997, CRC was named “Best Practice in Technology Transfer and Research Centers” in the eight-state, mid-Atlantic region. The park was selected to join an elite network of the best research parks in the world called “it-parcs.” In addition to managing the operation of the center, Meredith is responsible for facilitating technology transfer from the university, increasing the level of sponsored research at Virginia Tech and marketing CRC to prospective tenants. Meredith holds a Bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech, a Master's degree in aeronautics, astronautics and engineering science from Purdue University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech. He also is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College's Program Management Course.

Carol Stewart, Chief Executive Officer, Association of University Research Parks

Carol Stewart is the CEO of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an organization with a mostly North American-based membership that is growing into a robust international network. She is founder and Immediate Past President of the AURP Canada Chapter chartered in 2007 and has been a board member with AURP since 2010, until her recent appointment as CEO.

Prior to joining AURP as its CEO, Stewart managed the David Johnston Research + Technology Park (R+T Park) at the University of Waterloo, beginning in 2004 from its first building through to the ground-breaking of the 11th (evolv1) in 2017, which is the largest Net Positive project of its kind in North America. The evolution the R+T Park experienced under Stewart led to the commitment of a second replicable, evolv2, bringing the total park footprint to over a million square feet, 95 companies and with a combined staff of 4,400. The R+T Park, part of group of 26 parks, is responsible for 10% of the total of the group’s collective 4.3 billion annual contribution to the Canadian economy. Prior to managing R+T Park, Carol worked with both not-for-profit and technology organizations in various management roles in education, marketing and professional services at the Canadian Industrial Innovation Centre (CIIC) and Maplesoft.

Stewart also sits on the boards and participates in committees for various tech, economic development and charitable initiatives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Harold E. Strong, Jr., Partner, Inovatx Consulting Group

Harold Strong is a Partner at the Inovatx Consulting Group (ICG), focusing on developing innovation infrastructure. Prior to ICG, Harold served as Director of the University of North Texas Discovery Park and Technology Transfer, overseeing the design and development of strategies to stimulate and manage multidisciplinary research, education and training that benefits students, faculty, researchers and the business community. He worked to provide assistance to innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers to launch new ventures, commercialize new technologies and secure access to capital resources, while supporting regional economic development.

Strong is a nationally recognized leader in research park development with vast experience in developing partnerships between institutions of higher education and industries, defining and executing economic development plans and the development and management of business incubators. He is currently a board member and past President of AURP.



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